December 2013

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Salt Lake City Reception 
Friday, Feb. 21, 2014
Salt Lake City, UT   

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Higher River Flows Benefit Wild Trout
In response to a forecast for much-below-average temperatures, the Island Park Reservoir Drought Management Committee met on December 3 and agreed to increase reservoir outflow to 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the 90 cfs that had been released throughout most of October and November.

Flows were raised immediately after the meeting and only hours before an extended period of sub-zero weather settled into eastern Idaho. Because trout cannot regulate their body temperature, the ability of young trout to avoid predators is very limited when water temperatures drop. Their survival depends on availability of spaces among rocks and wood along the banks where they can conceal themselves from predators. Downstream of Island Park Dam, the number of these hiding spaces is directly related to water flow.

The 300 cfs outflow is far greater than had been anticipated earlier in the summer, but conservative water management and timely precipitation throughout the late summer and early autumn resulted in fill of the reservoir to 50% of capacity by early December, allowing the higher outflow. The Committee, which includes HFF, Fremont-Madison Irrigation District, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game and others, will meet regularly throughout the winter and adjust flows as necessary in response to weather, reservoir fill rate, and snowpack. The Committee's objectives for the winter are to attain near-average content in the reservoir by April 1, maximize flows during critical periods for juvenile trout survival, and allow the Island Park hydroelectric plant to operate for the remainder of the winter. 
The photo above shows the Buffalo River fish ladder after only four days of sub-zero temperatures.

Watershed Council Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Over 60 people attended the 20th annual conference of the Henry's Fork Watershed Council on November 19 in Ashton. Senator Mike Crapo, addressing the group via Skype, praised the Council for its collaborative work and cited the leadership of Fremont-Madison Irrigation District and the Henry's Fork Foundation as key to the Council's success. The Senator's sentiments were echoed throughout the day by a diverse group of speakers, each of whom added personal perspectives on the Council's history and ingredients for success. The day ended with HFF Executive Director Brandon Hoffner and FMID Executive Director Dale Swensen looking ahead to issues and challenges facing the Council over the next few years.

Chester Dam Construction Begins Final Phase

After two years of delays, Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative received approval in mid-November to begin the final phase of construction on the Chester hydroelectric project. This phase includes installation of an inflatable rubber dam on the crest of the existing concrete dam and modifications to fish passage facilities that will allow HFF and its partners to effectively monitor upstream and downstream movement of fish, once the project is fully operational.

About HFF  
The Henry's Fork Foundation is the only organization whose sole purpose is to conserve, protect, and restore the unique wild fisheries, wildlife, and aesthetic qualities of the Henry's Fork of the Snake River.
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